Nuclear Terrorism Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create four new offences relating to nuclear terrorism in order to implement the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

May 21, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for the question, because it is really germane to what I was saying.

The importance of recognizing the criminal liability of those who handle radioactive material is part of the solution in dealing with this. I do not see that in the bill. I do not see that the bill has addressed that in any way. There are no penalties for an error, bad judgment or simple carelessness in dealing with this type of material. That is something we should perhaps look at in committee. What are the responsibilities of those who handle radioactive material and enter it into the system?

As my colleague from Ottawa Centre has pointed out, we are going to be engaged in some very large takedowns of nuclear facilities in Canada, and those questions are of extreme importance.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6 p.m.
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NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Nuclear Terrorism Act), at third reading.

I believe that ensuring the safety and security of our country is extremely important for all parliamentarians, and the work that has been done in this bill strengthens the ability to protect Canadian citizens. Bill S-9 would amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the criminal law requirements of two international counterterrorism treaties: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM, as amended in 2005, and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, ICSANT.

This bill would fulfill Canada's treaty obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It would also reinforce Canada's obligations under the United Nations Security Council resolution passed in 2004, resolution 1540, to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials as well as chemical and biological weapons.

At this point, Canada has not yet ratified the ICSANT or the CPPNM amendments, as it does not have the legislation in place to criminalize the offences outlined in the ICSANT or some of the offences outlined in the CPPNM amendment. The amendments proposed in Bill S-9 would help to align Canada's domestic legislation with what is required by both of these conventions. Should these amendments become law, Canada would then, presumably, have the ability to ratify both the ICSANT and the CPPNM amendment by the 2014 deadline.

This is a commitment Canada and other countries agreed to work toward at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. and at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Korea. This is good to see, as we have witnessed the government not paying much attention to many of our international agreements and treaties. Let us hope that this bill that was started in the Senate is a sign of renewed commitment to our international obligations and treaties. Maybe we will actually see more respect for our treaties with the first nations and aboriginal peoples in Canada.

I digress, but I will go back to Bill S-9 now. The bill introduces definitions of terms such as “environment”, “nuclear facility”, “nuclear material” and “device”. It also amends the definition of “terrorist activity”, which would certainly work to improve clarity for enforcement agencies in Canada.

New Democrats are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas of great common concern, like nuclear terrorism. For this reason, we need to work with other leading countries that are moving toward ratifying these conventions. Moreover, Canada has agreed to be legally bound by these conventions. It is important to fulfill our international obligations. Canada is unable to ratify these conventions in an official capacity until our domestic implementation is actually complete.

During the discussions on Bill S-9, the committee heard warnings that the dangers of nuclear terrorism are very real. While this is not something that is likely often on the minds of Canadians, they trust that we, as parliamentarian, are working to protect their safety. As such, we must ensure that we are making efforts to fulfill our international obligations to protect Canadians and our international partners.

Safety and security rests not only with these sorts of international protections. I know that in my community of Scarborough, residents are also looking for action to improve the safety of our local communities. There have been far too many occurrences of gun violence in Toronto. The most recent statistics from the Toronto Police Service state that 20 shootings have resulted in five homicides, three of which were young people under the age of 16 in our community. The death of a child or youth is felt throughout a community. It is a tragedy that leaves family, friends and loved ones devastated and also leaves the entire community worried, anxious and on edge.

A week and a half ago, the member for Scarborough Southwest and I met with individuals, community organizations and front-line workers to hear their concerns about how to improve the safety and security of our communities. At this meeting, I heard of the need for a coordinated national youth strategy, dedicated core funding for preventative and productive sustainable youth programming, rather than punitive measures. We also heard of the importance of all levels of government being present at the table and providing the much needed support for the sustainability and increased safety of our communities. Finally, we heard that it was crucial that funders were aware of and in communication with the front-line service providers to truly know how the funding dollars were being spent on the ground. Many of the service providers felt that during their intermittent communications with the funding ministries, the persons responsible did not have a clear grasp of the real situations on the ground.

While the New Democratic Party believes it must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with its international obligations in order to better co-operate with other countries on counterterrorism strategies, this is one area of many that needs to be tackled for Canadians to truly feel safe.

I hope the safety of Canadians in their communities is something that will be reflected in the upcoming budget. I hope to see quality investments in prevention strategies and investments in our youth. Cuts to border services and community programs will not help our communities. Investments in youth gang prevention programs will also help our young people, as some current programs will see their funding expire.

We need to see real action in job creation for our young people. There are nearly 400,000 young people looking for work. It is shocking that in a country such as Canada, youth unemployment is at 13.5%. Helping youth get quality jobs can divert youth away from gang activities and allow them to help build our communities as well as improve their safety. I certainly hope to see some leadership soon from the government on this issue. Our communities truly deserve better.

I digress again. I am very passionate about safety in our communities and when we talk about nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, I automatically think of safety in my own backyard.

Coming back to Bill S-9, in the committee stage of the bill, one witness, Professor Bunn, shared some thoughts that I believe highlight the necessity of the bill and Canada's role on the international stage. He stated:

—if the United States and Canada are to succeed in convincing other countries to take a responsible approach to reducing the risks of nuclear theft and terrorism at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in 2014 and beyond, then our two countries have to take the lead in taking responsible action ourselves.

Canada has always had a reputation as an international leader on the world stage. It is unfortunate that under the Conservative government, this internationally high regard has been depleted in areas such as Canada's environmental policies. However, it is hopeful that through Bill S-9, Canada's international partners will follow its lead in the area of nuclear terrorism protection.

Professor Bunn went on to say:

Should terrorists succeed in detonating a nuclear bomb in a major city, the political, economic, and social effects would reverberate throughout the world. Kofi Annan, when he was secretary-general of the United Nations, warned that the economic effects would drive millions of people into poverty and create a second death toll in the developing world. Fears that terrorists might have another bomb that they might set off somewhere else would be acute. The world would be transformed, and not for the better.

The New Democrats agree that we have an obligation to work with our international partners, as nuclear terrorism will not have an impact in isolation, but it will affect the global community. It seems to me that the sophistication of technology and radioactive devices continues to improve. Therefore, Canada and countries around the world must act in a responsive, proactive and effective manner to ensure the protection of our citizens.

When it comes to terrorism, no country works in isolation. Rather, we require a consistent global response. The New Democratic Party believes we must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with Canada's international obligations in order to better co-operate with other countries on counterterrorism strategies. Canadians and people around the globe deserve to feel safe and secure. It is for these reasons that we will be supporting Bill S-9.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague referenced the concerns around public safety generally, with regard to gun violence, and she also talked about the importance of ensuring we have a careful eye and scrutiny on nuclear materials.

In terms of her community and the fact that, as I mentioned in my intervention, there are concerns about nuclear materials going through Ontario, has the member heard of this at all as an issue within her community, and is she concerned about the fact that the government to date has not shared with municipal leaders the route that the nuclear materials will take to the United States?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, actually I have not heard from any of my municipal counterparts or leaders about their knowledge of the route, their knowledge of where or how this nuclear waste material will be transported.

My home and my constituency community is actually very close to the nuclear reactors we have in Ontario, and I do not know where and how this waste material is going to be transported. It is something of serious concern, especially after the spills, accidental droppings and whatever that we heard happened near Great Bear Lake, and how the community is still feeling the effects of it 60 years later.

I know that members in my community will not want to experience that, especially also because my community has a large chunk of Rouge Park, which is soon to be a national urban park. What a disaster it would be if this nuclear waste were transported through this brand new urban national park, the first of its kind in Canada. What a disaster it would be if material were being transported through Rouge Park, through my community, affecting residents and our environment and our natural history.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the extended time I have today to speak to such an abstruse topic will allow me to address a number of points that members have unfortunately, or cleverly, not raised in the debates on enshrining the four nuclear terrorism offences in law.

This speech could not have been better timed given that the media this morning were reporting on the failed cooling system at the Fukushima plant. A few minutes ago, a colleague mentioned the Fukushima situation, and I will inform the House of the latest developments.

There was a power failure at the Fukushima plant. Power was cut to cooling systems for the three spent-fuel pools at the Fukushima plant on Monday after a power outage. The Japanese news agency reported that the neighbouring command centres did not record any significant changes in radiation levels after the power outage, which happened on Monday just before 7 p.m. local time.

When industry supporters say that it is possible to contain radioactive waste, I cannot help but be doubtful, especially in the face of such news. Facilities, buildings and structures built by humans have a limited lifespan. The pyramids of Giza are thousands of years old, but they just may be the oldest structures on the face of the earth. Trying to contain radioactive waste for millions of years seems downright impossible to me.

During my last speech, I focused on the procedural aspects of introducing these four new offences into the Criminal Code. I spoke about creating them and enshrining them in law from a practitioner's point of view. As I have said time and time again, I am a criminal lawyer, but I specialized in the areas of health and mental health. That is why I had some misgivings about how these offences were worded.

I thought about cases that I had dealt with up until recently, over the past two years. There is a possibility that some of my clients would be labelled as terrorists a bit too hastily. That is a rather derogatory description for clients with mental health issues.

When I appeared for certain cases, my clients were often in a fragile state and troubled. They might make threats. The judges took note, but they fairly often let things go, considering the state of the individuals who were sometimes dealing with toxic psychosis and who would utter threats right and left. We have already heard that. However, sometimes charges follow when an individual in the dock decides to threaten everyone in the courtroom. I have seen the same type of behaviour with clients.

When I spoke at second reading, I was recalling these cases, knowing full well that some of my clients uttered threats without necessarily having the opportunity or physical ability to put these threats into action and make them a reality. It is sort of on that basis that I said in the House that I had some reservations about the possibility of an individual being given the fairly notorious label of nuclear terrorist. I am just saying that this would not look too good on a resumé.

The scope of this bill gradually directed my arguments at second reading in order to highlight the impact of the provision creating the offence in which someone would:

possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operations, with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment;

With the words “cause death”, we see that it is a crime of intention, but it also mentions possessing and disposing of nuclear or radioactive devices. This is not something you buy off the shelf. The last I heard, you had to have very good connections to get your hands on nuclear devices or even radioactive material.

The second clause concerns threats to:

use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation, with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing anything;

commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device, or access or control of a nuclear facility;

Still, some degree of preparation goes into each of these offences. I know that it is ultimately up to the crown prosecutor to assess each individual case to see if there are grounds for a lawsuit. However, if prosecutors follow the letter of the law, there could be many more cases. Some clients who are not necessarily of sound mind could be given the label of terrorist and charged. However, a certain degree of organization and preparation are required to acquire a nuclear or radioactive device. It is not easy and it is not just anyone who can do it.

I would now like to talk to you about my own experience with the nuclear industry. The first time I had dealings with this industry was in 2009. At the time, I was a lawyer for my own band council. One morning, we met with a Romanian engineer who owned an engineering firm in Sept-Îles and had come to see the band council to warn us of the potential danger facing our community.

Unbeknownst to band members or leaders, uranium exploration was being conducted near my home reserve. This individual came and made such an eloquent presentation to my band council that, a few weeks later, the council had launched a lawsuit. The band council had documentation and a resolution on the lack of consent for mining exploration on traditional lands.

This was the first experience I had with the uranium and nuclear industries. That year—2009—was a busy one. Among other things, we held many public information briefings. One conference, which lasted several days, was hosted by industry specialists, but opponents were also present. Through the networking I did at that conference, I was able to meet other stakeholders and individuals. Experts from across Canada, as well as from the United States and other countries, came to meet with the people of Sept-Îles for a week.

Certain materials were brought to my attention, including polonium 210. I will come back to that later. We will see that nuclear terrorism is taking a strange twist in 2013, particularly when we look at actual cases of nuclear terrorism and the media coverage of those cases.

My cursory research of the subject we are examining and incidents and examples of nuclear terrorism tend to indicate that media coverage of the real impact of such criminal activity is fairly limited, other than when it comes to the cases involving the poisoning of international political figures that have occurred over the past few years. To my knowledge, there have not been hundreds of such cases, but the number has been fairly high nonetheless.

I will talk about a case discussed in 2009 at the symposium, the case of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent who died in 2006. At the time, he was living in England and was poisoned with polonium-210. This has been proven. Doctors conducted analyses and discovered that he had ingested polonium-210. What is insidious about this substance is that it can be added to drinks or food, and thus be ingested, and it is also possible for an individual to be poisoned by breathing it.

The person in question died within three weeks. He was given a rather massive dose of polonium-210. I learned about this incident this morning while researching this issue, and I committed it to memory. This incident is one of the first hits in a quick search for “nuclear terrorism” on the Internet and also in Wikipedia.

This specific case clearly shows the potential for the misuse of radioactive materials and how it is difficult to detect their harmful effects on the human body. We should also remember that, in Canada, there are obvious deficiencies in the supervision and management of tailings sites and the transportation of radioactive materials, and this opens the door to malfeasance and criminal misappropriation.

This afternoon, I began by mentioning Fukushima to prove that humans cannot control radioactive and nuclear materials.

Industry stakeholders will always tell us that all these materials can be stored and that it is possible to properly manage radioactive waste. But that is not true.

No man-made structure can house this waste for many years. These materials have a half-life. It is so complicated that I cannot explain it. However, I can say that the potential health hazard lasts for thousands or even millions of years. That is what I was told. Reputable scientists came to give us all this information. I got the same information as everyone else on the north shore, but the information provided was so detailed and worrisome that I had to speak today.

There are difficulties. It is almost impossible for human beings to manage this problem. Look at what is happening in Japan. For now, the problem has been contained. There are no major problems. But who is to say that this cooling down is unnecessary and that there will not be other problems?

We must also see that there is a real threat of a terrorist attack in Canada since we store radioactive waste.

Highly radioactive materials, such as contaminated metal beams, are being sent back into the civilian market. I will provide an example of this later on. This is an issue in Canada right now, but the problem is contained. It would be disturbingly easy for a malicious terrorist group to target strategic storage locations in Canada and Quebec.

In Quebec, the topic of uranium mining often represents a serious question of identity. Uranium mining has been criticized and people have spoken out against it. Gentilly-2 is currently being decommissioned. Discussions on uranium mining are taking place and action is being taken.

The Matoush project has also been strongly opposed by the public. This is a topical issue, but there is a dangerous potential for terrorism at our door, near Toronto, as my colleague pointed out.

How much time do I have left, Mr. Speaker?

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us come back to the materials that are being reintroduced into the market. This information has been brought to my attention in recent years. I do not have any documentation to show you, but the information is out there.

In Quebec, there is a scrap yard owner who has a rather sophisticated machine. I think this is common practice and perhaps fairly standard at scrap yards. I would assume that is the case. One day, as he was analyzing and processing new materials, his machinery detected a very high level of radiation on certain metal beams, on some metal posts. He had rather sophisticated machinery, probably a Geiger counter, that could detect that. Tests were done and they were able to determine that it came from Gentilly.

How did this material and these highly radioactive beams manage to end up in civilian hands? I put it to you, Mr. Speaker. This is a very worrisome situation that was brought to my attention and to the attention of the general public. I simply wanted to reiterate that today.

The biggest nuclear terrorism threat is found in the residue of Canadian nuclear power plants, in the waste that is not protected from physical impacts and attacks. It would be very easy, in Gentilly or from the St. Lawrence River, to get access to the nuclear fuel stored on-site. The buildings are not immune to attacks.

To conclude, I would like to quote Gordon Edwards, one of the professionals who came to meet us on the north shore and who is now a math professor at Vanier Cégep in Montreal. He said:

Obviously irradiated nuclear fuel will be a primary target on any terrorist's hit list, provided it is accessible as a terrorist's target.

Those are the wise words of Gordon Edwards.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, on that note, there is a wide nature of nuclear material, from medical isotopes to nuclear power plants and other forms of nuclear material.

I wonder if the member might provide comment on the importance of the Government of Canada working with provinces and other stakeholders to ensure there is some sort of plan in place to deal with potential terrorist attacks on our own ground or, for that matter, even accidents.

Nuclear Terrorism ActRoutine Proceedings

March 18th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question.

I would like to reiterate the importance of working with all of the stakeholders involved. We need to shed some light on the uranium and nuclear industries. Some people are trying to get their hands on these substances. That puts a lot of people, including lobbyists, in an uncomfortable situation. I know that it is a very powerful lobby that has a direct line to the party opposite. However, the public's opinion and the demands of Canadians will have to be heard because there is strong opposition to the mining and use of these materials.

That is all.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / noon
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Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Conservative

Robert Goguen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the third reading of debate on Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism act. This important counterterrorism bill, if passed, will put Canada into a position to ratify and become a state party to the 2005 amendment to the convention on physical protection of nuclear materials, the CPPNM amendment, and the 2005 international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, the ICSANT.

Let me begin by quoting former United Nations secretary, Kofi Annan, who warned that if nuclear terrorism attacks were to occur, “it would not only cause widespread death and destruction, but would stagger the world economy and thrust tens of millions of people into dire poverty”.

In my remarks today, I will describe the four offences proposed in Bill S-9.. I will also outline how these offences fit within the existing Criminal Code counterterrorism operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm, or substantial damage to property or the environment.

The penalty proposed for a conviction under section 82.3 is a maximum term of life imprisonment. This offence captures the distinct criminalization requirements of both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT. It is important to note that in seeking to ratify international agreements, dualist countries like Canada can rely on existing domestic law to achieve compliance with the treaty requirements. In this regard, for the unlawful export or import of nuclear materials where no specific intent is called for by the CPPNM amendment, Canada will be relying on a number of offences which directly target this activity, notably under the Export and Import Permits Act, the Nuclear Safety and Controls Act and the Customs Act.

Second, the bill proposes, at section 82.4, an offence for using or altering nuclear or radioactive material, or a nuclear or radioactive device, with the intent to compel a person, government, or international organization to do or refrain from doing any act. The proposed offence also criminalizes the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or its operations, also with the intent to compel a person, government, or international organization to do or refrain from doing an act.

Common to all the criminal acts in this offence is the intent to compel or influence the behaviour of others. This intent requirement is a characteristic of terrorism. Given the seriousness of these nefarious acts, this offence would carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The third offence in Bill S-9 addresses the commission of an indictable offence for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, or nuclear or radio active device, or to obtain access to a nuclear facility. If convicted under this section, offenders would be liable to a maximum of life imprisonment.

Both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT specifically reference criminal conduct such as theft and robbery committed for the purposes of obtaining nuclear or radioactive materials or devices. However, the treaties also specifically prohibit the “use of force or any other form of intimidation”, at article 9(f) of the CPPNM amendment and “use of force”, at article 2(2) of the ICSANT to obtain these materials.

By prohibiting the use of force, the treaties contemplate prohibiting conduct beyond the specified conducts. The notion of use of force is quite broad and could include any acts of violence or force and therefore any number of existing indictable offences could be contemplated as falling within that conduct, such as murder. It is for this reason that the present formulation of section 82.5 has been used. The scope of this offence is comparable to the requirement of the treaties, although formulated differently.

The final offence set out in Bill S-9 proposes a specific offence to threaten to commit any of the other offences in Bill S-9. The proposed punishment is a maximum term of 14 years imprisonment. The 14 year maximum penalty in the new offence recognizes the heightened seriousness of a threat in a nuclear context, with a sentence proportionate to the potential chaos that such a threat could create.

Many existing offences in the Criminal Code use the concept of “threat“ to describe prohibited conduct. I would also note that the Criminal Code contains a general uttering of threats offence at section 264.1. When examining the meanings of threats, the case law in Canada for the uttering threats offence has indicated the words are to be interpreted objectively within the context and circumstances. In other words, would they convey a threat which is a threat to a reasonable person? In addition, the mens rea has been interpreted to require that the accused intended his or her words to intimidate or to be taken seriously.

These four offences that I have just described, combined with the general provisions of the Criminal Code that address different forms of party liability, such as attempts and conspiracies as well as existing Canadian law outside of the Criminal Code, would put Canada in a position to ratify both of the treaties.

When we look at the proposed level of punishment for the offences in Bill S-9, I think members would agree that they are appropriate given the grave nature of the prohibited conduct. They are also consistent with other terrorism acts in the Criminal Code, for example, section 83.2, commission of an offence for a terrorist group, and subsection 83.21, instructing others to carry out terrorist activities. Both of these carry maximum terms of life imprisonment.

Some of the other areas of Bill S-9 that warrant mention are, first, that it would provide for concurrent prosecutorial jurisdiction over the offences between the provincial and federal attorneys general, an arrangement which is consistent with other terrorism offences in the Criminal Code. Second, the bill would provide for new offences to be added to both the wiretap and the DNA provisions of the Criminal Code. Third, by adding the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT to the definition of terrorism activities under section 83.01(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, a number of existing powers and procedures would apply to the new offences, including reverse onus at bail and one year wiretap authorizations, to name a few. These offences were designed in such a way so as to fit within the existing terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code.

In addition, these treaties require a sentence to assume extraterritorial prosecutorial jurisdiction over these offences. In this regard, Bill S-9 would give Canadian courts the jurisdiction to try these new offences in situations, for example, where the offence was committed outside Canada by a Canadian citizen or when the person who committed the act or omission outside Canada was, after the commission of the offence, present in Canada. Canada can already assume similar jurisdiction to prosecute other terrorism acts in the Criminal Code.

The final technical aspect of the bill that I will note is, as called for by both the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT, these offences would specifically not apply to a lawful act that is committed during an armed conflict or to activities undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties to the extent that those activities were governed by other rules of international law.

The military exclusion language used in Bill S-9 is similar to that which is present as set out in subsection 431.2(3) and subsection 80.3(1) of the Criminal Code. Notably, the Supreme Court of Canada in the December 2012 Khawaja decision provided guidance on the application of the military exclusion clause used in the definition of terrorist activities in the Criminal Code. In rejecting the application of military exclusion to the defendant, the court found: first, the military exclusion clause functioned as a defence and therefore it was for the defence to raise an error of reality to the claim that it applied; and second, the conduct in question must otherwise be in accordance with applicable international law such as the Geneva Convention.

Over the course of Bill S-9 moving through the legislative process, much has been said about the impetus for Bill S-9 from both a domestic and international perspective. The context in which the bill has been brought forward has been debated and continues to be of vital importance.

The original CPPNM, which was negotiated in 1980, is presently the only legally binding international instrument in the area of physical protection of nuclear material. Canada signed it in September 1980 and ratified it in March 1986. Canada achieved ratification in 1986 through amendments to a range of statutes, including the Criminal Code.

Twenty-five years later the international community, through the International Atomic Energy Agency, recognized the need to revisit the original CPPNM. In this regard, in July 2005, state parties to the CPPNM, including Canada, adopted the CPPNM amendment. One of the key additions to the original treaty is a requirement for state parties to protect nuclear facilities and materials in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.

Also, in 2005 under the guidance of the United Nations General Assembly, the ICSANT was negotiated and adopted. The purpose of the ICSANT was to cover a broad range of nuclear terrorism acts and possible targets.

Canada is not alone in seeking to become a state party with these two important nuclear security treaties. At a second world leaders nuclear summit held last year in Seoul, Republic of Korea, 53 heads of state, including the Prime Minister of Canada, recognized the importance of multilateral instruments that addressed nuclear security such as the CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT.

The world leaders committed to work together through a universal assurance of a CPPNM amendment and the ICSANT. If Bill S-9 is passed, Canada will be in a position to report this accomplishment at the next world leaders nuclear summit in 2014. The CPPNM amendment at last count has 64 state parties while the ICSANT has 83 state parties.

Some of our closest allies have recently taken important domestic steps in this area. The United Kingdom became a state party to the ICSANT in 2009 and the CPPNM amendment in April 2010. In addition, Australia modified its laws to achieve ratification of the CPPNM amendment in 2008 and the ICSANT in 2012.

Let me conclude my remarks by heightening what Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University said in its 2011 report entitled “U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment on Nuclear Terrorism”. In a short yet powerful statement it warned that of all the varieties of terrorism, nuclear terrorism poses the gravest threat to the world.

Bill S-9 is balanced and timely and, most important, it is designed to target this new reality.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult for me to answer that question, since I do not know all the state secrets, as they cannot be divulged.

However, we are certainly always on the lookout for threats. We know that people go to other countries to be trained by terrorist groups. We must always be vigilant.

Honestly, I cannot give you a list of factors that I do not know myself. It is not because I do not want to.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, humanity has seen, unfortunately, the use of nuclear weapons and we have seen terrorism, especially after 9/11. However, we have never seen the two used in conjunction and it is terrifying prospect.

Would the parliamentary secretary not agree that given our international obligations in this respect, given our leadership on disarmament, on issues of international peace and security and given that Canada produces and exports nuclear materials, this is one case, one bill where achieving the unanimous support of the House would be a very valuable signal. On our side, we could not, and most Canadians could not, see any reason why that unanimity would not be achieved?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, being part of a ratification of a treaty that has worldwide acceptance against one of the major threats as recognized by most world leaders, nuclear terrorism, is a very important facet of being a world leader. Certainly we are world leaders, not only in the area of protection of our citizens and citizens abroad, but we are also world leaders in the development of nuclear technology.

If we have the capacity to develop nuclear equipment, nuclear technology, we have a further and stronger obligation to ensure our facilities and those areas where such projects are developed are appropriately protected, not only for domestic purposes but also for abroad.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the minister would be able to provide some comment in regard to the formal communications relationship that would exist with his provincial counterparts regarding the nuclear program, nuclear terrorism, the potential for nuclear terrorism, or anything of that nature. Does that exist, and if so, to what degree?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Goguen Conservative Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I regret to advise that I am unable to answer exactly what go-betweens there are with the provinces and the federal government on this issue. However, with regard to the amendments to the Criminal Code and the prosecution, it is a boilerplate issue that basically there be joint jurisdiction in prosecuting such offences.

That is the limit of my answer to that relevant question.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

March 7th, 2013 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was surprised a minute ago when the parliamentary secretary for defence did not make reference to the Pickering nuclear power plant, which is very close to his riding. It is within sight of my riding of Scarborough Southwest as well. That does bring up the provincial issue, again, because the nuclear power plants are provincially run.

Hearing about the negotiations that happened with the Province of Ontario, certainly not details which must remain secure, I wanted to ask in what way the government is evaluating the progress accomplished on the international scene with regard to the questions linked to nuclear terrorism.